Food Safety for the New Year
Food safety is one of the most critical tasks of a restaurant or foodservice establishment. Even the slightest mishap can cause a customer to be ill. As a new year has arrived, take some time to go over proper food safety skills and techniques to keep customers and employees safe.
Foods need to be cooked thoroughly to reach a safe temperature for consumption. The best way to ensure accuracy is with a thermometer. Below are the “Safe Minimum Cooking Temperatures” according to FoodSafety.gov:
- Ground meat and mixtures
- Beef, pork, veal, lamb: 160°F
- Turkey, chicken: 165°F
- Fresh beef, veal or lamb: 165°F (with a three minute rest time)
- Poultry: 165°F
- Pork and Ham
- Fresh pork: 145°F (with a three minute rest time)
- Fresh ham (raw): 145°F (with a three minute rest time)
- Precooked ham (to reheat): 140°F
- Eggs & Dishes
- Eggs: Cook until yolk is white and firm
- Egg dishes: 160°F
- Leftovers and casseroles: 165°F
- Fin fish: 145°F or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork
- Shrimp, lobster and crabs: Until flesh is pearly and opaque
- Clams, oysters and mussels: Until shells open during cooking
- Scallops: Until flesh is milky white or opaque and firm
Improper handwashing is one of the easiest ways to jeopardize food safety and cause cross-contamination. To prevent the spread of germs and bacteria, use soap and warm (105°F) running water. Rub hands vigorously for 20 seconds and wash all surfaces including the backs of hands, wrists and in between fingers and under nails. A nail brush will get all around and under nails.
Rinse hands thoroughly and turn off the water with a paper towel as opposed to freshly cleaned hands. Use a paper towel for the door knobs as well.
To ensure food safety, proper handwashing has to occur after so many instances such as touching anything exposed to germs, coughing, sneezing, handling soiled equipment, post-food preparation, switching between foods that are raw and ready-to-consume and anything that contaminates hands.
One of the other biggest ways to jeopardize food safety is cross contamination from supplies. Eliminate this confusion and speed up food preparation time by using color coded utensils such as cutting boards for foods, or thermometers with one being purple which is to be used for those with allergies. Rotation labels are also imperative for food safety to avoid food borne illnesses and cross contamination. They also help to save money as foodservices will know when to use foods by.